Potential president’s Bedfordshire roots?

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With the final US presidential debate looming Barack Obama’s opponent Mitt Romney could put a tiny Bedfordshire village back on the map.

As a follower of the Mormon religion Romney would be the first person from the faith to become US president. But few know that founding fathers of the faith originated from Staploe.

Mary Fielding was born in Bedfordshire in 1801 and her parents were active in the growing Methodist movement. But when Mary and other villagers emigrated to Canada in 1834 she would become one of the earliest members of the Latter Day Saint movement attending regular Mormon study groups.

The original group of Bedfordshire immigrants, including Mary, moved to Kirtland Ohio to join a larger group of members of the new church.

She was able to make a living as a teacher tutoring private pupils and was well educated.

Around this time Mary became the second wife of the church’s leader Hyrum Smith and the mother of Joseph Fielding Smith who became the president of the faith.

Mary died from pneumonia in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1852 and was buried at the cemetery there. In the Mormon faith Mary is revered as a role model for the courage she showed during her life at a key time for the religion.

So whatever the outcome of the US presidential election, rest assured that the people of Bedfordshire played their part in the race for the White House.